Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I am happy to inform you that this post was published by the Kochi edition of The New Indian Express, a leading English daily in India, on 17th February, 2009 in their centre page under the TIME OUT column. Actually I had posted this in my blog on 3rd June, 2008. A few days back I emailed the post with some modifications to the INDIAN EXPRESS and was delighted to see that it was published. Please read and enjoy.

One afternoon, after a heavy lunch, I got into a red killer bus at Menaka bus stop to go to my bank at Pallimukku. It was an unusually hot day and the bus was overcrowded. I hung on to the overhead bar and looked around. One kind man gestured towards me offering a seat next to him. He was sitting in the last row of seats that could seat six people.There were five people there and he pushed the man sitting next to him and made space for me. I gratefully acknowledged his magnanimous act and squeezed myself onto the seat. Those of you who travel in a bus will agree that it is better to sit uncomfortably than to stand in an overcrowded bus. People push, jostle and elbow with no mercy.

So I sat down and heaved a sigh of relief. I smiled at the man and thanked him for being so kind. He smiled back and nodded in acknowledgement. It is very difficult in these days to find such good and decent people. I relaxed. As mentioned earlier, I had had a heavy lunch and I felt drowsy. My eyes closed in spite of my best efforts to keep them open. I woke up with a start when the driver applied the brakes at a bus stop. I half opened my eyes and found the space next to me was vacant and the kind soul who had offered me the seat was about to alight from the bus.

He looked at me and I looked at him. He had a strange, startled look on his face. I didn’t bother and he jumped off the bus. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. The bus started moving.At frequent intervals I used to check my breast pocket to ensure that my mobile and money were there. The very next time I checked, I found my mobile missing. I panicked and desperately looked at the people seated and standing near me hoping that one of them would give me clue about my missing mobile. They seemed least bothered.

I realized that my mobile phone had been taken by the “kind soul” who had offered me a seat! I screamed, “ Stop the bus! Stop the bus! My mobile phone has been stolen. The thief got down at the previous stop.” People looked at me as though I was a nuisance. They were not interested in my mobile. Not a soul. They were only concerned about reaching their destination and reaching it fast. The bus driver did not bother to stop. Some even told me to shut up.

Finally the bus came to a stop at the next stop. I quickly scrambled out and ran back to the previous stop which was quite a distance away. I thought perhaps the thief would be hanging around and I could catch him red handed. When I reached the stop, huffing and puffing, there was no thief waiting there. Of course, it was foolish on my part to even think that he would be hanging around.

My thoughts rushed around. How will I contact my customers? How will they contact me? I will lose a big chunk of business. The thief could have at least given me the SIM card. He will get a measly amount from a second hand dealer. I would have willingly given him that money. I was completely shattered and stood there for a long time cursing my fate and mumbling abuses at the goddamn thief --- that kind soul.


Femin Susan said...

nowadays such things happens it the private buses. once my mothers money bag went stolen.luckily nothing much valuable went.but your experience is wired.
I am very happy to know that you had published your experience in time out.every day i reads it.i saw yours too....

Mark in Spokane said...

Well, I'm sorry to hear about your phone, Joseph. I've had stuff stolen before -- books when I was in law school. Books that were expensive and that I needed and that I couldn't afford to replace. It was a terrible thing -- I was very angry. Then I thought about the state of the person who stole my books, and I felt sorry for them, that they had decided to respond to their own situation by making mine worse by stealing from me.

Small consolation though, as I was left having to borrow money from my mother to buy replacement books!

As for your thief, it is sometimes those who look that they will help us the most who wind up hurting us a great deal. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. But caution is often warranted, sadly, when people offer us things or help. A sad commentary on our fallen world.

Amrita said...

I was once pickpocketed while dismounting from a bus in Coimbatore. It was a little street urchin. I could not stop him as he disappeared very quickly and I don 't know Tamil. Anyway I did not have much money but i was kind of shaken.

These thieves are really smart.
Here they make friends with you on the train and offer you drug laced food or drink and when you drop off to slumberland they relieve you of all your luggage.

Losing your phone numbers is such a nuisance. Hope you have them written down somewhere.

But it made a great newspaper article.

Leo said...

Yes! I remember this post! It was very good and came from your emotions. I'm happy that it was recognized by publication. I have learned that my white hair makes me a perceived vulnerable target for a thief, so I have to be much more alert at all times when I am out in the public.

manivannan said...

Hi Sir :)

I'm sorry to know your mobile phone has been stolen. Again sorry sir because I really enjoyed the way you have written it. It was really interesting. And Congrats! You got this published on Indian Express. That's great!

And, yes, these incidents make people lose faith in human values.

Even I recently lost my mobile while travelling in a share auto.I hope you got your contacts back and your is business doing well by now.

Paul said...

Hi JPC, All these things happen now a days.Last time while i was travelling in train, one theif put sleeping pills in water bottle, when a person went to latrine. He came back and drank water and woke up after 8 hours to see everything stolen. Now it is high time to take your belongings too to bathroom. Bye for now and thanX for all your best wishes for my research. Will meet U one day once i am back in Cochin.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Friends :)

It looks like all of us have been robbed at some time or the other. Some things like mobile phones are very valuable because all contacts are there. There is a thriving second hand mobile market in Kochi.

Susan, Mark,Amrita, Leo, Mani and Paul--- Many thanks for your comments and narrating some incidents of robbery in your own case. We have to be doubly careful because there are too many desperate people out there.

Hi Paul:) Surely we should meet over a cup of tea and chat. Let me know when you are coming to Kochi next time. Wish you all success in your thesis for the doctorate.

Mel said...

Congrats on having your story published, Joseph! What an honor! So many people are blessed by what you do here. Thank you for the time and energy you invest in your beautiful, meaningful blog. And I'm sorry about your phone. I don't know what I'd do if I lost mine. eek gads!


thats so ridiculous sir..i mean this thing happen all over the world..there are always some eyes winking upon to steal something out of ours wealth..thats why sometimes i feel like i ll never be that if something like this will happen i ll not get hurt..but corporate world force somebody to be like a gr8 materialistic...and as we all know there is hell differences in the class of people this things are like surely going to happen...but sir did you complain about it or post any fir? anyways sir the second phase of my imotion is about this article upon indian express.that's making me feel like communicating with a great i value "writing" a lot..i ll search it over IE if you would suggest the date..i ve been waiting for my number as i even sent some articles to IE as a member of PETA.but till now i ve never been into such good luck...
anyways you and yours article rock sir..keep going..

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Swagatika :)

I am thrilled to read your bubbly comments.

The article appeared in the Kochi edition of IE dt. 17\2\09. You may not find it in your local edition of IE.

You need a little bit of luck to get your articles published because they get so many articles and they will pick and choose.

Any way keep trying, don't get disappointed, you will succeed.

Best wishes :)

JM said...

Joseph, the minute I read you were falling asleep in a very crowded bus, the idea of you getting robbed immediatly crossed my mind! You have to be very carefull here too...
Congratulations on the published article! :-)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Mel :)

I am absolutely thrilled that you read so many of my earlier posts starting with my first post and left so many comments.

Many, many thanks for taking so much of your precious time on those posts and writing innumerable comments.

Actually when I started I thought friends will automatically come, read the posts and leave comments based on the strength of your writing or the content of the posts.But that is not the case.

In real life, if we want to make friends, we have to be outgoing, we have to be nice, we have to say some good things about others to gel with them and evoke their interest. This is the case with blogging also and it is all the more difficult because we don't meet anyone personally unless we live close to each other.

You have been a steady friend, a constant source of inspiration and encouragement and I value your friendship greatly.

God bless you and your family and shower upon you all happiness and success in all that you do :)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
This is great news, wow, now I have a friend who is published!
I enjoyed this story the first time I read it and enjoyed it even more this time. You see, your stories of India have a wide appeal, I know you are flattered and gratified. Can't wait for your next post,


That was tough luck, losing your cell phone.
But out of that experience you have made a little hay (if I may be allowed to mix metaphors)- congratulations on getting published in a newspaper.

Maria said...

Joseph, congratulations, I am happy to hear that your post was published in time out.every day! I have only once lost my mobile phone and then I realized that all my telephone numbers were saved on the SIM card and nowhere else! Luckily I got it back, somebody deposited it at the lost and found centre.
Ha, every time I see a church, I'm thinking of you. And send you good wished :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Maria :)

I need all your prayers and best wishes.


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi JM, Leo,Fred,Raji :)

Your comments and best wishes keep me motivated.

Many, many thanks.

Best wishes :)

SkyJuice said...

Hi Joseph,

I remember this post. Congratulations on getting it published! Did you get paid for it? Just curious. If you didn't, well, it's still satisfying to see your work being published, am I right?

I do hope you've more or less recovered your business contacts since the unfortunate incident, and find many new ones. It's best to keep a separate list of your contacts just in case. I've a list in both soft and hard copies.

Have a nice day, and a good week ahead! :-)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Friends :)

Fortunately for me, I had a good friend in Idea Mobile. He got me a duplicate SIM without delay and I was able to avoid a disaster.

Many, many thanks for your kind comments and congratulations.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi SkyJuice :)

Many thanks for your valuable comments and suggestions.

Best wishes :)

Bluebirdy said...

I am comparing THIS version with the one you published earlier. Did you notice the last paragraph is missing on this one? The one that talks about putting all the things you will do differently next time so you won't get robbed? I have had things stolen so many times I can't count. People even taking them from outside my house and I have to go outside and demand that they return the item. Last month when Mom was dying in the hospital, more than half of all I own was stolen from a locked building that I store things, and take things I need back and forth from my house to that building, because I only live in a bedroom so I don't have room to keep everything. One night a man even stole a large part out of my car, then threw a large rock through my very large front glass window. It's discouraging that you HOPE to trust someone, then they rob you. Too bad the price of the payment for getting this article published was not enough to buy a new mobile. May I ask what kind of business you are in that you have customers?
Blessings, Sheila